Posts Tagged ‘City Art Gallery’

Another Quick Trip to Columbia, SC, for Some Art Viewing During the Crazy Winter of 2013

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

I don’t know why the good folks in Columbia, SC, think that Thursday evenings is the day to have art openings and art walks, but it seems that’s their day. Maybe it has to do something with early preparations for Saturday morning tailgating, but once again I was making a trip up I-26 from the Charleston, SC, area to see art in Columbia – something I don’t think a lot of folks in the Charleston area ever consider doing. Believe me – it’s their loss.

Charleston has an excellent visual art community, but so does Columbia and other parts of South Carolina and the Carolinas as a whole. But I’m not sure many folks in Charleston know that.

So on a day when our crazy Winter was turning from an Eskimo’s Summer to a Carolina Winter, I traveled to Columbia to see several exhibitions. When I first arrived in Columbia it was a wonderful 80 degree day. Within hours the temps had dropped 30-40 degrees and rain was blowing horizontally. It kind of reminded me of Michigan.

My first stop was the Goodall Gallery at Columbia College to see the exhibit,South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Exhibition, featuring works by Marty Epp-Carter, Ben Gilliam, Elaine Quave, Joseph Thompson, Carolyn Tucker, and Paul Yanko. The exhibit will be on view through Feb. 16, 2013.

I usually don’t know what’s going on at the Goodall Gallery as we don’t ever seem to receive info about their exhibits, but somehow info reached me this month. So, I was interested in seeing the work created by the folks teaching our lucky high school students in SC who get the opportunity to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts in Greenville, SC.

I’ve been told that we will be better informed about exhibits at Columbia College. As Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”

As I drove to Columbia College I was experiencing a feeling of auto-pilot – the Goodall Gallery was my first stop when delivering papers to Columbia (years ago now). The only difference now was that it was the middle of the day instead of being at 1 or 2am at night. And, being daytime I had to take some faculty member’s parking space, but I figured at that time of the day they had probably left for home already – otherwise I created a parking domino effect. Sorry about that.

A view of one corner of the gallery.

The Goodall Gallery is not a large space, but it isn’t small either. It has two levels, but today’s exhibit only took up the lower level. The only artist whose works I was familiar with were those by Paul Yanko, an abstract artist – go figure. I like his work and if you’ve seen it before you can spot it in a second – as long as he keeps to his current style.

Bridge Frame Wing by Paul Yanko, 2009-10, acrylic on canvas

Bridge Frame Wing by Paul Yanko, 2009-10, acrylic on canvas – detail

After a look at everything on display my first impression was that the visual art students at the Governor’s School for the Arts would do well in following what these instructors had to offer. All of the work I saw could actually sell in the Carolinas – which is not often the case when it comes to college or university professors. I liked all the work I saw, but beyond Yanko’s abstracts I focused in on the earthenware clay works by Elaine Quave and a series of photographs by Carlyn Tucker.

Hercules Beetle, by Elaine Quave, 2012, earthenware clay

Economic Indicator Series, by Carlyn Tucker, 2005-2011, digital color print

Quave’s works were large platters mounted as wall hangings and Tucker’s photographs told a timelapse story on how well our economy has been doing since 2005. One set of photographs showed one small building in transition from openings to closings of five different businesses in a span of time from 2005 to 2011. It was very interesting – something probably only noticed by people who drive by the building on a daily basis or its landlord. Having been someone who has failed at business in the past, I felt the pain and loss in these images.

(left) Vespa, by Ben Gilliam, 2010, alabaster, copper (right) Erosion Vessel, by Ben Gilliam, 2010, bronze, copper

We have an article about this exhibit on Page 14 of our February 2013 issue of Carolina Arts ( Go see this exhibit.

My next stop was Tapp’s Art Center on Main Street. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there – way before they got city funding, but by the time I got from Columbia College to where Tapp’s is on Main Street – the skies had opened up and rain was coming down in buckets – horizontally. After driving around the area a few times and finding only one parking space that would have meant I would spend the rest of my time in Columbia soaked to the bone – I went to plan B, which is mostly plan A every time I’m in Columbia. I drove over to One Eared Cow Glass to see what the cowboys were up to. Besides I had orders from Linda, my better half, to get one of those glass snowflakes from the display of the Four Seasons (in glass) that One Eared Cow Glass did at the recent SC State Fair.

I found a space at OECG right next to the front door, but judging by how wet I got just getting out of the car and through that door – not going to Tapp’s was a good decision. Hopefully I’ll get to visit on my next trip to Columbia.

The cowboys on this day were working on a commission piece for the town of Blythewood, SC. They were making leaves to create a chandelier for the new Doko Manor community center in Blythewood. When I asked what that was going to look like they said picture the Dale Chihuly chandelier over at the Columbia Museum of Art, but made of colorful leaves. That’s some kind of picture. I’m sure we’ll be bringing you more about this project in the future.

Dale Chihuly chandelier at Columbia Museum of Art

I watched about a dozen leaves get made while looking to see if the rain was letting up, which it wasn’t, and kept checking at my phone for the time. That’s right, I don’t wear a watch anymore. It’s just another thing a smart phone has replaced. I was keeping track of the time as the main reason I had come to Columbia was for the opening of an exhibit at City Art Gallery, Selected Work from the 30 Year Retrospective: Made in America -1983- 2013, featuring works by artist Marge Loudon Moody, an art professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, on view through Mar. 2, 2013. (We have an article about this exhibit on Page 16 of our Jan. 2013 issue of Carolina Arts).

Tom Lockart making the stem for a leaf.

Mark Woodham rolling out a leaf from a big glob of molten glass.

Lockart merging the leaf and the stem.

Lockart shaping the leaf.

So while the rain continued, I took some photos (with my phone) and picked out a snow flake, talked with the cowboys and looked at all the wonderful works in the gallery, until it was time to venture back into the car to head over to City Art. I always want to get there early to get a good parking space – especially on that day, due to the downpour.

I got a fairly good spot considering, but the rain was still relentless. I had come ready to be dressed for a reception, at least dressed up for me (dress pants, shirt and sport jacket), but ended up deciding that at my age, it was better to wear my old reliable rain coat and Carolina Panther’s hat to stay as dry as I could. My normal dress is shorts and T-shirt or in Winter – T-shirt and lounge pants or jeans – 24/7 (Panther hat when going outside).

The 100 yard dash to the door was an event. As I reached the door and got inside I can remember letting out a whew! and realizing I was the first person there. The only folks in the gallery were staff members and they were all staring at me. Once I walked up the stairs to the gallery Wendy Wells , the gallery director, walked over to me and asked, “What are you doing here?”. Taking that as a sort of comment based on the weather and distance from Bonneau to Columbia, I replied. “I came for the opening.” She still looked a little surprised, I usually only show up in Columbia for maximum effect – Artista Vista, Vista Lights or even a First Thursday on Main, but I think she understood why I had come for the opening. She also said the artist was still “swimming” upstream on I-77 coming through the rain from Rock Hill.

You need a little background at this point. You see, we have to go back to an exhibit the SC State Museum presented a year or so ago, Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012, which is where I first saw works by Marge Moody. This was my favorite exhibition in some time in SC and I was familiar with the name Marge Moody, but had never seen any of her work before that exhibit. I was more familiar with her husband’s photography – Phil Moody, who also teaches at Winthrop University. Marge Moody’s works in that show made a big impression with me – as did many of the works in that show. It was a spectacular exhibition. You can read about this exhibit and see some images in a blog I did about another trip to Columbia at thisLink.

Wendy Wells had also liked that exhibit and in a discussion about the exhibit Moody’s works came up and she said she was going to have a solo exhibit of her works at City Art Gallery. My response was – when you do we’ll feature her work on the cover of Carolina Arts, and we did in our Jan. 2013 issue.


So, you see, I couldn’t wait to see a whole exhibit of Moody’s works and I said so on Facebook, but I guess some people just think comments on Facebook are just superficial comments. Not with me. So, Wells shouldn’t have been too surprised to see me there – slightly wet. But, due to the weather, I think she was surprised anyone would show up that evening. Linda wanted to come too, but just couldn’t get off work to come, so we’ll probably see it again before Mar. 2.

The SC State Museum in Columbia has just received the 2012 Certificate of Excellence for the exhibit, Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012, from the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC). So, I guess I stand in good company in liking that exhibition.

Shortly after the reception started the rain stopped and a little sunlight came through the skies so I was able to dash back to my car and change back into my better looking duds – which meant ditch the hat and rain coat and put on the sport coat.

Moody and her husband soon arrived and I got a chance to talk with her about how she had managed to stay off my “abstract” radar, but the good news is that there are other exhibits in the works coming in the future. Hopefully we’ll have more about that in the future.

First off, this exhibit was not really a retrospective – most of the works were recent. I guess it was my mistake in thinking I was going to be seeing a wide range of works over a period of time – by not reading the exhibit title – literally (“Selected Workfrom the 30 Year Retrospective: Made in America -1983- 2013). These works were on the more recent end of those 30 years. Perhaps one of those future exhibits will offer a wider view of those 30 years.

The only way I can describe Moody’s work is to show some of my favorites with photos provided by City Art Gallery. My phone’s camera doesn’t do such a good job in that space for some reason or it’s the fact that at a reception I do more talking than taking photos.

Blue Chicago Series: Blue Chicago, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

Field Lines Series: Terrain, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

Moon, by Marge Loudon Moody, 12″ x 12″

Studio Series: Sunset and Stilllife, by Marge Loudon Moody, 18″ x 18″

Thin Places Series: Field I, by Marge Loudon Moody, 54″ x 54″

You have lots of time to go see this show, but don’t put it off and then miss it. And, it will be some time – too long for me – before the SC State Museum mounts another view of abstract art in SC. So for people who love and understand abstract works – you have to get out and see these shows when they happen as they don’t happen that often – especially at commercial galleries.

Why is that? Well, those who like abstract art and would consider buying it are in a minority in SC. Commercial galleries are in business to sell art, so my hat goes off to someone like Wendy Wells and City Art Gallery for presenting a show like this one. In this case the public could prove me wrong. I hope so. Yes, City Art Gallery is a supporter of Carolina Arts, but that doesn’t change the facts and supporter or not, they deserve credit for their efforts.

I do want to mention another exhibit that opened that same evening in Columbia over at 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Stephen Hayes: Cash Crop, on view through Mar. 3, 2013. This is another “must see” exhibit that probably won’t be coming to Charleston any time soon – although it should have originated there.

A detail of one of Hayes’ pieces in the exhibit.

At the core of the exhibit are 15 life-size sculptures of shackled people placed in boat- or coffin-like structures, with diagrams of captive, warehoused humans in Trans-Atlantic slave ships carved in wood on the back. Hayes says the sculptures represent, “the 15 million human beings kidnapped and transported by sea during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

Most of those slaves probably arrived in Charleston first in coming to America.

This exhibition has been shown several times in North Carolina and I got to see it at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. If I get another chance I’ll see it at 701, but with a two hour drive back home, my visits to Columbia are always limited. One of these days I’m going to stay overnight and enjoy Columbia’s art scene like a local.

Hayes is doing a residency at 701 CCA, so he may be adding new pieces to this exhibit.

So, if you travel to Columbia before Feb. 16, you can see all these exhibits and maybe get a peek at the chandelier that One Eared Cow Glass is creating.

Columbia, SC’s Spring Arts Festival – Artista Vista – Celebrates 20 Years – Apr. 28-30, 2011

Saturday, April 9th, 2011


Artista Vista, the Columbia, SC’s, Congaree Vista’s annual gallery crawl, will once again usher in spring in the Midlands from Thursday, Apr. 28 through Saturday, Apr. 30, 2011. The event features special exhibits at each of the participating galleries from 5-9pm on Thursday night and from 11am-5pm on Friday and Saturday.

In celebration of Artista Vista’s 20th anniversary this year, well-known arts writer and critic Jeffrey Day will curate a variety of installation art exhibits, original poetry readings, music performances and more in the streets of the Congaree Vista Thursday evening.

Artista Vista’s founding grew out of the rise of installation art in the 1990s, so we wanted to embrace art outside the gallery to honor the 20th anniversary while recognizing that many of Artista Vista’s founding galleries are still thriving twenty years later,” said Day.

The three-day event will encompass all forms of art from visual to performing arts.

Thursday, Apr. 28, (5-9pm): Installation pieces by an assortment of artists will be on display at 927 to 929 Gervais Street and the fire-training tower on Park Street.

Fiber artist, Susan Lenz will unveil her public art project, Looking for a Mate. Lenz collected mate-less socks from the public during Vista Lights, last Fall, and used them to create an art quilt.


Barry Wheeler and Heather Bauer will present a photography piece at Lewis + Clark, which will share the history of the Vista through photos. Dr. Sketchy’s anti-art group will perform at Ellen Taylor Interiors and Design’s storefront window from 7:15-8:30pm.

Friday, Apr. 29 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

Saturday, Apr. 30 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

There will be a special performance by the USC percussion ensemble at 1pm at City Art Gallery.

From noon to 1:30pm, One-Eared Cow Glass artists will be collaborating with artists from the About Face art group at One-Eared Cow (1001 Huger Street).


USC’s art department painting studios (located in the Vista at the corner of Devine Street and Gadsden Street) will have an open house and the department’s new wood-fired kiln will be up and running from 11am to 4pm. Participants include: Kara Gunter, Susan Lenz, Amanda Ladymon, George Fenter, Billy Guess, Marius Valdes, Eileen Blyth, Barry Wheeler, and Heather Bauer.

As a special part of its 20th anniversary, Artista Vista is offering a social media contest at this year’s event with the chance to win a limited-edition, silk screened, signed 2011 Artista Vista poster and a $50 gift certificate to Motor Supply Company Bistro. All you have to do is search “Artista Vista” as the venue on Foursquare and check in as you come to each gallery during the event. Whoever becomes the mayor of Artista Vista by checking in at the most galleries the most often over the course of the three-day event wins the poster and gift certificate.

Artista Vista 2011 participating galleries include: Carol Saunders Gallery, 300 Senate, Vista Studios/Gallery 80808, The Gallery at Nonnah’s, Paul D. Sloan Interiors, if ART Gallery, Lewis + Clark, Gallery at DuPre, SC State Museum, SC Contemporary Dance Company, City Art Gallery, and One Eared Cow Glass.

Free parking will be available in the Vista’s parking decks located on Lincoln Street near Lady, Park Street near Pendleton, and Lady Street near Wayne Street. Many galleries will offer complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine.

To learn more about the Congaree Vista, Columbia’s arts and entertainment district, visit ( or follow the Vista on Twitter: (@vistaguild).

City Art Gallery in Columbia, SC, Features Works by Tarleton Blackwell

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

An article about this exhibit was in our Jan. 2010 issue of Carolina Arts, but when they recently sent some images of the works included in this exhibit – I just had to share this one image with you all.

It’s of former President George W. Bush – the “shoot from the hip” “bring em’ on” “War President” –  George Bush. Who’s the nearsighted sidekick? Who knows, it could be anyone from the former President’s rogues gallery – Karl Rove, Dick Cheney – perhaps Donald Rumsfeld the warrior. Who cares!


Blackwell has had some great satirical imagery in the past – the Piggly Wiggly pig as Pope and himself as a Spanish commodore, but this one really gets to the heart of a real American characteristic. We’re all a bunch of cowboys at some time or another.

The exhibit is up through Feb. 20, 2010, at City Art Gallery. It should be well worth any effort to go see it – no matter what your political persuasion is.

You can read the article about this exhibit at Carolina Arts at this link.

“Artista Vista 2009″ in Columbia, SC, Time Well Spent

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Even though the event takes place on a Thursday night, all the planets seemed to be in alignment – so Linda and I made a run for it. Columbia is a two hour drive from our front door and Artista Vista starts at 5pm. Linda had to start a three day work weekend of 12 hr. shifts on Friday and I was picking up our May 2009 issue from the printer on Friday, which takes two trips to North Charleston, but we wanted to do Artista Vista – this would be Linda’s first time. I had been to two previous Artista Vistas, two Vista Lights and one Congaree Arts Festival over the last 14 years. It would be a quick visit considering the two hour drive back home and the fact that Linda would be back in the car headed for work shortly after 6am the next morning. So we left early to get there early.

Our first stop was One Eared Cow Glass where they were getting things ready for the 5pm opening. We figured this would be a good opportunity to see the work without fighting the crowd and see what was being offered before anyone else. As usual, there were plenty of new items on the shelves. They are always up to something new. We got a good look and would come back when the show was going on – the magic of seeing molten glass being turned into art objects.

After that we headed to Lincoln Street to find a parking space – again before the crowd. We stuck our heads in the door at Blue Marlin which didn’t start serving until 5pm, but the bartender served us up a drink so we could sit outside and wait for the event to begin. It was nice sitting outside watching all the parking spaces fill up and people scrambling around – getting ready for the crowd.

You see, unlike art communities that have art walks every month or even quarterly, the Vista only does it twice a year and Artista Vista is the only totally art event. Vista Lights includes all businesses in the Vista. So, this is a pretty big event for Columbia and the surrounding area. We wouldn’t be able to see it all given our limited timeframe and knowledge of what was ahead of us (physically) for the next week, so we planned to do the best we could in a small area of the Vista.

At 5pm we walked over to City Art Gallery where they were presenting,Perceptual Painters: The Collective, on view through June 27, 2009. This exhibit featured the works of a group of painters who all had a connection with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. And, you could see it in the works. There is something about the painters who go through that school. I’ve seen it in other painters’ works who went to school there – like Linda Fantuzzo in Charleston, SC. City Art always seems to bring in something different for Artista Vista – whether it be emerging artists from universities around the region or a seasoned group like this one. The artists being featured were: Dave Campbell, Matt Klos, John Lee, Aaron Lubrick, Scott Noel, Brian Rego, and Andrew Patterson-Tutschka.

While at City Art we ran into Mary Gilkerson, who at one time used to write reviews for Carolina Arts ( – way back when. She’s also written for The New Art Examiner, The State, and is currently writing for FreeTimes in Columbia. But the big news here was – she has started a blog which will give her much more opportunity to write about the art scene and other things in South Carolina called SCARTblog ( Her first contribution is about an exhibit of works by Carl Blair, Flora and Fauna, on view at ifART Gallery in Columbia through May 9, 2009. Add Mary’s blog to your bookmark list.

It’s great that more people are starting blogs about the arts in the Carolinas – they need all the coverage they can get considering the cuts being made at daily newspapers. And, don’t forget about Jeffrey Day’s new blog, Carolina Culture ( Jean Bourque ( also gives out a lot of info about what’s going on at her blog.

Next we went over to ifArts. I was hoping to see Carl Blair there, but he wasn’t there. I wanted to let him know the reason we didn’t have anything in our April issue about his show was because no one sent us the info in time for our deadline. I’ve seen a lot of his paintings and sculptures in other galleries throughout the Carolinas before – this was the first showing of his animal sculptures in Columbia – so you readers in the Columbia area need to go by and see the show if you already haven’t before May 9. No excuses.

We then headed to Vista Studios to see View from the Studios, on view through May 12, 2009. Gallery 80808 was filled with art as was every inch of the place – including the studios of Susan Lenz, Stephen Chesley, Don Zurlo, Robert Kennedy, Laura Spong, Pat Gilmartin, Sharon Collings Licata, Pat Callahan, Ethel Brody, David Yaghjian, Michel McNinch, and Jeff Donovan. As usual, the studio door of Heidi Darr Hope was closed. I wonder why she is part of this facility. I don’t think she participates in many of their events. No problem – there’s plenty of art to feast your eyes on.

While there, I got to catch up with some artists I used to chat with on a monthly basis when I was delivering papers to Columbia during the day – Laura Spong and Ethel Brody – who always seemed to be working in their studios. I was hoping to talk with Susan Lenz ( – the Queen of blogging, but she was always tied up with someone and I hate to get in the way when customers might be buying art. In fact, this place was full of folks.


OK, here’s something that I probably shouldn’t do, but you know me – what the heck. My favorite work of the evening was Pat Gilmartin’sBlooming Arms. You can see it here. I liked lots of other works I saw this evening, but this was my favorite – don’t shoot me.


This is a testament of my taste in art. As we left Vista Studios I was thinking to myself – I didn’t even look to see how much that piece cost. I need more art like a hole in my head, but you can’t help but think of things you would love to have. And, after our trip to SEE pottery in Seagrove, NC, the week before – I was on a tight leash. Imagine that,Carolina Arts Unleashed on a tight leash. Believe it.

Anyway, I at least got a photo of the work to share with you all from Gilmartin. She let me know that the work had sold later that evening. At least I have the photo to remind me that recessions are hell, and the knowledge that someone else out there has good taste in art.

We got back to One Eared Cow Glass to see them at work. Someone was leaving as we arrived so we got a parking space. They were in the groove and we watched two works from beginning to – I’d say end, but that’s not possible. We got to see two works they finished working on, but because it will take them 15-16 hours to cool down in a slow cooler – we might never see what the finished piece looks like. The final colors wouldn’t show until they totally cooled. And, by that time – they will be sold. But, we can all imagine what they would look like to us. Hey, that’s multi-media art.

Our witching hour came at 8pm and we headed back to Bonneau – ETA 2 hours. We were tired, but it was worth it. We had a good time. You just can’t do and see everything.